Starlink RV vs Starlink Residential

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Starlink RV and Starlink Residential are two of several plans offered by the satellite internet company. The names are pretty self explanatory – RV is designed for recreational travelers, while Residential is for home internet. But the two service tiers offer different performance, features, and costs.

In this comparison guide, I will break down the differences between Starlink RV and Residential. I will cover the hardware, costs, performance, and features. I will also detail the important ordering and billing differences. Finally, I’ll recommend which service you should get based on your needs.

Hardware

The hardware kit is identical between RV and Residential. You get the same antenna, router, base, and cable.

Starlink doesn’t offer any RV accessories at this time (except the RV case). I know many RV owners will be looking for a DC power supply or RV specific mounts, but Starlink doesn’t make any of that. You’ll have to look to aftermarket vendors if you need accessories for your rig.

Price

When you order Starlink, you’ll pay a one-time equipment fee and then a monthly service charge.

Equipment

The equipment fee is $599 for both RV and Residential. This buys you the hardware kit, including the antenna, router, and stand.

Service

Residential: $110 per month (Portability option: +$25/month)

RV: $135 per month

Starlink charges a bit more for RV because it has the Portability feature already built-in. Residential users can travel with their dish just like RV users if they add Portability to their plan. But if you don’t need that feature, Residential is cheaper.

Performance

Since the hardware is identical, the performance capability of RV vs Residential is the same. However, Residential users always have bandwidth priority over RV users when they are at their service address. This means that, in times of heavy network traffic in an area, RV performance will be worse than Residential users in the area. Speeds will be more inconsistent and latency could be higher.

Residential users traveling with the Portability feature also experience the same network de-prioritization as RV users. When traveling, performance between RV and Residential will be similar.

Here are the official performance specs:

Residential: 50-200 mbps down, 10-20 mbps up, 20-40 ms latency

RV: 5-200 mbps down, 1-20 mbps up, 20-40 ms latency

Neither plan has any data caps or limits.

Features

Starlink RV is great for being able to travel with your Starlink dish, but you can do the same with Residential if you add Portability. So what’s the advantage of RV?

Pausing Service

The main feature that RV has compared to Residential is the ability to pause your service. If you only plan to use Starlink during the camping season, you’ll be able to pause your subscription during the winter, and save money when you aren’t actually using it.

With Residential, you can’t pause service, you can only cancel. And since capacity and availability with Residential is limited, cancelling could put you back on the waitlist, unable to start service back up immediately.

Transfer Service

One of the big advantages of Residential over RV is the ability to transfer hardware from one person to another. This means there is a used market for Residential hardware. You can buy a used dish and have service transferred to your name. If you decide you don’t need it, you will be able to sell it to someone else later on.

Starlink RV cannot be transferred at this time. If you ever decide you don’t need it anymore, you are stuck with it. This also means you can’t buy used RV units, so you’ll have to pay the full MSRP if you decide to go with RV.

Availability

There are several differences between RV and Residential when it comes to ordering, traveling, and availability.

Waitlist

Residential Starlink service is limited at the moment. There is a certain capacity in each area, which slowly expands as more and more satellites are launched. If you try to order Starlink Residential, you may be stuck on the waitlist, waiting to be able to order your hardware kit.

Starlink RV doesn’t have a waitlist. In most areas, you can order it immediately without waiting. Since RV doesn’t technically have a service address, you can choose to ship it just about anywhere.

Restrictions

Both RV and Residential (with Portability add on) can be used at any location with active Starlink coverage. There are some restrictions, such as needing to stay within the same continent as your shipping address. This restriction applies to both plans.

With the RV plan, if you move outside of the shipping address country for more than 2 months, you’ll be required to re-register in that country.

On the Residential plan, if you stay at a secondary location for more than 2 months, you may be required to update your service address for billing purposes. If you stay at the secondary location for an extended period of time, further performance degradation may occur.

Which Starlink should I order?

The best Starlink service for you depends on what you plan to do with it. Are you stuck on the waitlist, desperate for internet? Perhaps you have a main house and a vacation home that you plan to take your Starlink to?

Read each section below. The points highlight the differences between RV and Residential. You’ll know which option is best for you if you agree with the majority of the points listed in that section.

Get Starlink Residential if:

  • you primarily need home internet service
  • you occasionally or never need to travel with Starlink
  • you want the highest level of performance at home
  • you will use Starlink year-round

Get Starlink RV if:

  • you primarily need recreational/portable/travel internet service
  • you can’t wait on the Residential waitlist
  • you want the ability to pause monthly service payments
  • you don’t mind performance inconsistency

Conclusion

Starlink RV is primarily aimed at travelers who need a portable high speed internet option. Starlink Residential is aimed at customers needing home internet. The hardware is identical, but there are some major differences with features, performance, and availability.

Order RV if you just need portable internet to use at multiple locations. With RV, you’ll be able to pause service when you aren’t using it. Order Residential if you primarily need home internet and it’s available at your address. You can still travel with Residential + Portability, but you’ll get better performance when at home if you have Residential.

I hope this guide has helped you understand the difference between the Starlink plans. If you have any further questions, leave a comment below or contact me.

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